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Digital Subscriptions > Guitar Magazine > Sep-18 > PRIVATE COLLECTION RUCK ’N’ ROLL STAR


John Beattie is a rugby union institution, but while the former Scotland and Lions back rower may be a celebrated player and broadcaster, his undoubted passion is guitars. Mark Alexander finds out how the BBC presenter found the sound that he’d first started looking for 40 years ago…

For viewers and fans, this year’s Commonwealth Games in Australia was a spectacular celebration of sand, sea and sporting excellence with an Antipodean twist. For three weeks, passion and endeavour were the maxims to follow from down under. For John Beattie, however, while covering the games for the BBC was a pleasure and a privilege, it also meant he was away from his beloved guitars… and that just wouldn’t do.

“I was there for three weeks, so I just had to buy a guitar,” concedes the 60-year-old former Scotland flanker, who now works as a commentator and presenter for the BBC. “I phoned up lots of places and asked about renting one, but was quoted £20 a day. Instead, I bought a Chinese Les Paul copy called a Haze from a pawn shop. It had active pickups and I played it every day for an hour in my room overlooking the Gold Coast beach. I also bought a wee battery-powered Orange practice amp to go with it, and it was magical.”

Despite being best known for his rugby career – which included 25 caps for his country and tours with the British & Irish Lions to both South Africa and New Zealand – and his TV and radio work, away from the pitch Beattie’s first love is the guitar.

“Everybody thinks because you’re a rugby player; you’re a numpty, but we were a musical family,” he explains. “Music was number one in our house. Unlike rugby, music isn’t competitive, or at least it shouldn’t be. But like rugby, it is teamwork. You’re in a team of people trying to make something lovely.”

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About Guitar Magazine

The September 2018 issue of The Guitar Magazine is on sale now! This month we find out if Marshall’s wallet-friendly new Origin series delivers what everyone has been waiting for from the legendary British amp brand. We also tip our hats to the 10 greatest Marshall tones in rock history and find out how they were made – Messrs Clapton and Hendrix feature heavily but there are one or two surprises, too... Originators and trailblazers are something of a theme in this month’s mag – inside you’ll also find interviews with Doors star Robby Krieger, a celebration of the genius of Seth Lover and a close-up and personal look at the solidbody electric that started it all: a 1950 Fender Broadcaster. Elsewhere in gear we round-up the best products from the recent Summer NAMM show in Nashville and review a pile of great new products from Rick Turner, Stone Deaf, Lowden, Eastman and more. As if all that wasn’t enough there are three fantastic competitions, giving you he chance to win a Fender Player Stratocaster, House Of Tone pickups and a luxury Pinegrove strap. Get your copy of the September 2018 issue of The Guitar Magazine today...